ISAF, the Olympic Classes and the Organisers of the multi-Olympic Class Grade 1 Olympic Class Events met in Bern, Switzerland on Sunday to discuss the introduction of an Olympic Classes "World Series" tour.
As yet to have a final title, the "World Series" will be created to introduce a more consistent and professional circuit for Olympic sailors, and provide the mechanism to achieve greater exposure and visibility for sailing.
Image: Representatives of ISAF, the Olympic Classes and multi-Olympic Class Grade 1 Events - with Paul HENDERSON, Riccardo SIMONESCHI and Henri VAN DER AAT shaking hands on the development of the "World Series".
Representatives from the Olympic Classes and multi-Olympic Class Grade 1 Events, including Sail Melbourne, Semaine Olympique Francaise (Hyeres), SPA in Holland and Kiel Week in Germany, urged ISAF to take the lead and provide the vision by which the "World Series" could be formulated, and all present affirmed their desire as stakeholders in the sport to move forwards in the best interests of the future of sailing to create a more dynamic event programme, which would maximise the sport and create a global circuit.
It was agreed that there should be a clear route of "World Series" tour events around the world. ISAF will further encourage the creation of a Continental Series in the country/region of the "World Series" events, which in turn could be preceded by a National Series, thus creating a clear path of participation, which would also support the development of sailing in that region.
It is the intention to utilise the existing multi-Olympic Class Graded events within the "World Series", and to encourage new events particularly in Asia, Australasia and the America's to be part of the "World Series" tour. It was emphasised that the "World Series" would not be a closed box and events will be encouraged to become included on the tour.
Events within the "World Series" will be consistent in all aspects, from format issues to technical matters, and will be easily recognisable by the media as the premier tour for the Olympic sailors. In scheduling the series to synchronise with other Graded Olympic Class events, not only will a more cohesive event calendar be created, but the costs to the sailors in travelling and shipping equipment will be reduced.
It was accepted that there will be proposals for the "World Series" on which some event organisers or classes will disagree, but that the success of the tour should not be compromised, and that they will ultimately support ISAF in enforcing the criteria of the "World Series".
Speaking to the meeting, ISAF President of Honour His Majesty King Constantine commented:
"I am hugely impressed with this meeting. It has been highly constructive and encouraging, with you all looking towards the benefit of the sailors and the benefit of the sport."
Moving forwards, it was agreed that ISAF, the Olympic Classes and multi-Olympic Class Graded Event Organisers will prepare proposals, and consider the overriding principles and philosophy for the "World Series", focusing on the four key areas of: Sailors, Sport, Media and Event Quality.
It was agreed that the "World Series" proposals would be put to Council at the ISAF Mid-Year Meeting in June 2004, for final approval at the ISAF Annual Conference in November 2004.